Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present, which will run from October 30, 2009–January 31, 2010 at the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor of the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway) features more than 175 works by 105 photographers, including many rare and never-before-exhibited photographs, that gave the music its visual identity. The exhibit is being billed as the first major museum exhibition on rock and roll to put photographers in the foreground, acknowledging their creative and collaborative role in the history of rock music. From its earliest days, rock and roll was captured in photographs that personalized, and frequently eroticized, the musicians, creating a visual identity for the genre.
The photographers were handmaidens to the rock-and-roll revolution, and their images communicate the social and cultural transformations that rock has fostered since the1950s. The exhibition is in six sections: rare and revealing images taken behind the scenes; tender snapshots of young musicians at the beginnings of their careers; exhilarating photographs of live performances that display the energy, passion, style, and sex appeal of the band on stage; powerful images of the crowds and fans that are often evocative of historic paintings; portraits revealing the soul and creativity, rather than the surface and celebrity, of the musicians; and conceptual images and album covers highlighting the collaborative efforts between the image makers and the musicians.
Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present is organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated book by Gail Buckland titled Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present, published by Alfred A. Knopf, with support from the Universal Music Group.
Photo: Henry Diltz (American, b. 1938). Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles (detail), October 1985. Chromogenic print. © Henry Diltz